Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Bigger Than Me

I recently had the privilege of going on a mission trip to Kenya. Specifically as part of a team that actively supports the Inua Partners in Hope program that helps orphaned young people gain vocational skills to...somehow, amongst the most devastating of circumstances and poverty...provide for themselves.

The whole experience was overwhelming...and hopeless...and incredible...and inspiring.

In short, it was bigger than me.

Perspective
As you might suspect, my view on the 'problems' in my life quickly melted away as I witnessed the power of the human spirit in such extreme circumstances. I returned to my work with colleagues and clients and prospects armed with a fresh perspective. 

Suddenly, the crisis of the moment, or complicated work relationship wasn't really all that complicated..let alone a crisis. 

Here's the rub...how sustainable will my 'new outlook' be? Is this the natural after-effect of something as powerful as my trip; or, have I opened the door to not only how I view my work going forward, but how I will invest my time and resources as well?

Hopefully, it sticks. I'm counting on it.



How About You
When was the last time you experienced a profound event in your life? Did it carry over to your professional life? Did those powerful emotions and newly found clear lens stay with you?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

No Trick Pony

The world of work, and leadership in particular, is an interesting place. So many experts, confident souls, and buried among them...real pros.

What I find most curious are those leaders who profess to be so good at everything they touch that they can do no wrong.

Ever.

Good at Something
To be fair, we're typically good at 'something'...whether or not that happens to align with our jobs is a totally different matter. For the most part however, everyone brings something to the game.

Where I run into trouble myself; and, see others struggle, is when the belief that we are the smartest people in the room becomes our reality. That is dangerous territory, filled with over inflated egos, arrogance, and a lack of credibility.

I've been there from time-to-time...and I hate it. It's quite embarrassing actually. Fortunately those moments are the exception not the rule. For others though...it is a way of life. 



How About You
What do you do about those leaders in your organization that are "just so darn smart" that they've alienated those around them? Do they realize they are not even a one-trick pony? How can we support them so they can be a legitimate member of the team going forward?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic  

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

No Bold Tactics

Let's be clear about something right away. Busy does not equal effective. Everyone is busy...or make themselves 'busy.' I see it all the time. Leaders who want to over share how hectic their days are...so full of things to do...and important executives to sit next to during meeting after meeting.

So...I hate to break it to those folks who thrive on this sort of thing...but you are failing.

Leadership is not only about going to meetings.
Leadership is not only about getting things done on your task list.
Leadership is not only talking about how busy you are.

Tactics and Excuses
Too many leaders get stuck in tactical decisions (even the most senior executives) and convince themselves that they are actually moving their organizations forward.

Not true.

Sure, it's easier to feel productive when you're doing things. I love the feeling of (digitally) checking items off my Wunderlist. But, those items are at the end of the process. At some point, I've had to invest significant time, energy and resources into effectively planning the bold moves my organization or my clients need to make.

There are no tactics in that work.


Strategy and Courage
The really difficult work of planning, executing, and completing strategic plans is, in my opinion, the most important work to be done. True plans...fresh ideas that become reality...launching new product lines...addressing major gaps in the organization and doing something about it...THAT is the work of real leaders.

The same old talk, talk, talk, without the plan is worthless. 

Why reference courage at this point? Easy...most leaders don't have the courage to build the plans necessary...to take the bold risks necessary...to literally move their organizations forward.

It is far easier to work to maintain the status quo and keep life in neutral, than it is to see what needs to be done and build and execute a plan that gets the organization to an entirely new place.

How About You
Look back over the last five years of your career. What risks have you taken? How have you literally changed your organization for the better? What tangible results can you share?

You have it in you to make it happen. You simply need to go for it.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Outlive the Hand

"What's the most important contribution that you've made to your organization?"

Let that sink in for a minute.

Now take that question a step further. "What will your most important contribution to your organization be after you've left?"

Whoa.

Trains Running
As you start replaying the various initiatives you've been a part of let's clear something up right away. Keeping operations running smoothly is not the answer to either of my questions. While important, no one has a legacy that starts with "she always kept the trains running on time."

That is an expectation, not a legacy.

Courage
The most important, and candidly impactful, things I've accomplished in my career required a fair amount of risk and courage. Trying new approaches in very public ways (which means failure would also be very public); and, tackling unpopular issues were always at the top of my list. 

Was I a glutton for punishment? Of course not. Did I see opportunities to make a real difference in the life of my organizations? I sure did. The cold reality of pushing issues that are risky is that it is often a lonely path forward. The support often comes after breakthroughs and success. 

But that's not what legacies are built around. It's all about the difference we make. Not the slaps on the back, or praise in front of the masses. Not chasing glory to pump up our fragile ego. It is simply about knowing we did the right thing in a big way. 



How About You
What will your legacy be long after you've written the last verse? What about the other aspects of your life: family, faith, relationships or volunteering? True legacy means that what we've created outlives the hand that created it.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

inspiration
pic

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Power of Community in Your Success

I've been thinking a lot about the role "community" plays in my life. It's a term that gets thrown around so much that I wonder if anyone has internalized a definition for themselves and embraced it?

The deeper I've gone into my own communities, the more I see the profound role they play in my life. In fact, I can quickly identify six distinct communities that I actively participate in on a daily basis. Whoa!

Professional
This seems obvious, yet my focus isn't that I have a cool job and am able to do interesting things. It's all about the relationships and trust I've built that makes the difference.

Social
All hail the power of social media. Yes, I'm serious. Some of my most important social relationships (and my Personal Board of Directors) were born out of my connections on various social media channels.

Faith
This is a huge part of my daily life, and I am absolutely grateful for it. Whether I'm leading small groups, or prepping for a big mission trip later this summer, my faith community has been tremendous.

Fitness
Staying healthy and reasonably fit has been an important part of my life for a long time. Investing in a professional trainer last Fall has helped me take my game to the next level. Now, a new facebook accountability group around fitness and motivation helps keep me on track as well.


Music
When my friend Michael Carty asked me to write about how I feel about "my" music, I was both humbled and a bit intimidated. But alas, my music is not only one of my greatest passions, it has also brought me to one of the most welcoming, nonjudgmental communities I have ever experienced. Here's the post if you're curious.

Family
Last here...but certainly not on my list of priorities, is my amazing family and those close personal relationships that make all the noise of the world seem insignificant. To say I feel blessed would be a massive understatement.

How About You
What are the communities that mean the most to you? How do they make a difference in your life?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

pic

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

What's Your Message?

We all send a message. Whether it's in the words we choose to say, the decisions we make, the risks we take, the way we choose to behave or the culture we promote in our organizations...we all send a message.

What message do you send? What would those around you say defines who you are as a leader? Those messages are real. Their impact on the team is real. 

Far too often leaders believe they can say one thing and do another. That is simply untrue. Our colleagues are bright, insightful people who are crystal clear on our impact. 


How is it then that leaders can convince themselves of their own reality and be so far removed from what actually is...well...real?

The saddest part is watching it all happen. So many lost opportunities to lead, when instead it's as if their internal cult of personality has to be fed.

What do you think about messaging? Is it as simple as "do the right thing" or, is there a deeper issue that needs to be explored?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

pic

Monday, July 1, 2019

Downshift

Hey friends...I'm back from an incredible week away with my sons. I'm blessed beyond words to be able to have fun as well as to experience wild moments with them (literally...think sharks!)

Time
As my children become adults, it is increasingly clear to me that the quality of the time we spend together far outweighs the quantity. Gone are the days of playing hide and seek and having "floor time" every evening after work.

Now, it's all about quality. To be honest with you, that transition is harder than I thought it would be. They don't need me every day like they used to, but they sure do need me now. 

We maximize our time together, as I do with my older daughter, to ensure our time is meaningful, not just an obligation to "get together."

Focus
I wonder if that same commitment to quality moments holds true in the workplace? Spending time with our team members is critically important to building the corporate cultures we all long for. Yet, it is not up to the employees to create the environment for that culture to flourish. 

That responsibility rests solely on us as leaders.

Additionally, our employees don't need us to watch over them every minute of the day. They are not children. They are the bright, creative, hard-working people that make our organizations successful.

Do they still need us? Of course they do. But they need quality, not overbearing quantity.


How About You
What is your time commitment to your team? Are you downshifting away from a focus on quantity and moving to maximizing the quality of your time with them? Or, is the old school bed check approach more your style?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic